Month: September 2014

F%$# You for that Mental Image

Talking with a Gentile cow-orker about Rosh Hashanah, and the blowing of the Shofar.

We talked about how some are short (ram’s horns) some are longer. (some sort of gazelle, and rather more melodic)

I noted that while the Shofar is played much like any brass instrument, i.e. with buzzing lips, but it differ in that the Shofar blower traditionally blow from the corner of the mouth, not the middle.

He said, “Kenny G. style“.


M of A – The (NED Financed) Hong Kong Riots

Guess what? It looks like the CIA front known as the National Endowment for Democracy is dumping money into yet another so called color revolution:

Some organized “student groups” in Hong Kong tried to occupy government buildings and blocked some streets. The police did what it does everywhere when such things happen. It used anti-riot squads, pepper spray and tear gas to prevent occupations and to clear the streets.

Peter Lee aka Chinahand has an excellent piece on the issue at Asia Times Online. But Lee is making one mistake in that he does not consider outside influence:

Occupy Hong Kong decided to light it, starting with a class boycott and demonstrations organized by the Hong Kong Federation of Students. And, since I’m never afraid to mix a metaphor, the Hong Kong government poured fuel on the fire by pepper-spraying and teargassing it.

Who really “decided to light this”? To me the protests, and the “western” reporting about it, have the distinct smell not of tear gas but of some expensive Color Revolution perfume of “western” origin.

So lets look up the usual source of such exquisite fragrance. The 2012 annual report of the U.S. government financed National Endowment of Democracy, aka the CCA – Central Color-Revolution Agency, includes three grants for Hong Kong one of which is new for 2012 and not mentioned in earlier annual reports:

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs – $460,000

To foster awareness regarding Hong Kong’s political institutions and constitutional reform process and to develop the capacity of citizens – particularly university students – to more effectively participate in the public debate on political reform, NDI will work with civil society organizations on parliamentary monitoring, a survey, and development of an Internet portal, allowing students and citizens to explore possible reforms leading to universal suffrage.

So the U.S. government in 2012 (2013 numbers are not yet available) hands over nearly half a million to “develop the capacity” of “university students” related to the issue of “universal suffrage” in the election of Hong Kong’s chief executive.

Why do we keep doing this sh%$?

Not only does it reduce the credibility of protesters in country, but the results (the Ukraine, Georgia, etc.) have been spotty, to put it mildly.

If the definition of insanity is, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” the US state security and foreign policy apparatus are insane.

Silly Rabbit, Religious Freedom is Just for Christians

In their 41-14 drubbing of the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah intercepted Tom Brady and ran it back for a touchdown, and then gave thanks to God.

Unfortunately, this was a Muslim prayers, so he was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

I don’t ever recall that ever happening to Tim Tebow.

Today, the NFL actually called out the Zebras, and apologized:

The N.F.L. said Tuesday that Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was mistakenly penalized by a game official when he knelt to pray after scoring a touchdown Monday night.

In the fourth quarter of the Chiefs’ 41-14 victory over the New England Patriots, Abdullah, who is Muslim, intercepted a pass by Tom Brady and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown. After he entered the end zone, he slid on his knees and bowed forward in prayer, with his head touching the turf.

He was given a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

An N.F.L. spokesman said Tuesday that Abdullah should not have been penalized. “Officiating mechanic is not to flag player who goes to ground for religious reasons,” Michael Signora, the spokesman, said on Twitter.

Players routinely gesticulate and thank God after scoring touchdowns. Most prominently, Tim Tebow, the former Denver Broncos quarterback, knelt on one knee after scoring. Tebowing became an Internet meme.

If Abdullah had Tebowed, he would not have gotten a penalty.

You know it, I know it, and even the generally clueless National Football League knows this.

The Eu Gets Real, Beotches

The EU has routinely insisted that in accordance with EU rules, countries in crisis have to impoverish their ordinary citizens, cutting wages and the social safety net.

Well it looks like the EU will start going after money for the big guys now with Eurocrats going after Ireland’s tax deal with Apple, and Luxemburg’s and the Netherland’s deals with FIAT and Starbucks:

In a warning shot to companies shopping for tax deals around the globe, the European Commission publicly accused Ireland on Tuesday of giving illegal subsidies to Apple and cautioned that the country might need to collect back taxes from the company, which outside analysts said could reach into the billions of dollars.

These findings, which constitute a preliminary indictment of Apple’s past arrangements with Ireland, come as policy makers in the United States and Europe try to block some of the inventive maneuvers multinationals use to limit taxes in their home countries and reduce their worldwide payments as much as possible.

“The light bulb has gone off that trade wars by another name and conducted through the tax system are just as ruinous,” said Edward D. Kleinbard, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law and a former chief of staff to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

And from the European lowlands:

The European Union is to accuse US tech giant Apple of taking illegal aid from the Irish state through sweetheart tax deals over two decades, the Financial Times reported Monday.

A European Commission investigation into Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland, where it has enjoyed a rate of less than 2.0 percent, found that the company benefitted from illegal state aid, the FT reported citing sources close to the matter.

Ireland’s Department of Finance confirmed that the EU would be publishing a document on Monday but stressed that “the Commission has not formally decided that there is state aid” at play.

“Ireland is confident that there is no breach of state aid rules in this case and has already issued a formal response to the Commission earlier this month, addressing in detail the concerns and some misunderstandings contained in the opening decision,” the department added.

The European Union launched a probe in June into sweetheart tax deals negotiated by Apple, Starbucks and Fiat with three member states.

The investigation seeks to determine whether such arrangements offered by Ireland, Netherlands and Luxembourg give the companies an unfair competitive advantage and thus amount to illegal state aid.

Here’s a phrase that I did not expect to say, “Good job, European Union Bureaucrats.”

Follow this to its logical conclusion, please, and ban this sh%$.

Everyone but the corporations lose in this beggar thy neighbor strategy, and besides, Ireland really needs the money.

The Wisest Thing Said so Far this Year

If regular Americans acted like corporations and the moneyed class, our country would collapse in a week from systemic theft, corruption and greed.

Donald Trump is going bankrupt for the 5th time, Richard Fuld is still a rich man, Goldman Sachs is still a going concern, airlines and other businesses routinely declare bankruptcy to cheat their workers.

It’s no surprise that recent studies have found the wealthy to be less ethical than the general populace.

And when a deal goes bad? They just walk away.

Basically, the much of the obscene levels of wealth that have been accumulated, particularly by the MBA class, come from their monetizing our ethics and their lack thereof.

John Oliver Certainly has a Way With Words

John Oliver’s monologue about the US drone policy notes that US drone policies are like, “Harvey Keitel’s balls,” because, “From a distance you think, ‘Well, I understand the contours of those.’ But if you were to really examine them, you’d discover that they’re actually lost in a haze of fuzziness and gray areas. Much like the rules for our drone strikes.”

Barack Obama is giving Henry Kissinger some serious competition for “Worst American recipient of the Nobel Prize ever.”

Nope, No Partisan Politics Here

In another 5-4 decision split along ideological lines, the Supreme Court has blocked early voting in Ohio, at least until an appeals court rules:

With just sixteen hours before polling stations were to open in Ohio, the Supreme Court on Monday afternoon blocked voters from beginning tomorrow to cast their ballots in this year’s general election. By a vote of five to four, the Justices put on hold a federal judge’s order providing new opportunities for voting before election day, beyond what state leaders wanted.

The order will remain in effect until the Court acts on an appeal by state officials. If that is denied, then the order lapses. It is unclear when that scenario will unfold. The state’s petition has not yet been filed formally.

The practical effect of the order will mean that, at the least, early voting will not be allowed this week — a period that supporters of early balloting have called “Golden Week.” That permits voters to register and cast their ballots on the same day.

Depending upon the timing of the state’s filing of a petition for review and the Court’s action on it, Monday’s order may also mean that early voting will not be permitted on most Sundays between now and election day, November 4, and will not be permitted during evening hours — that is, after 5 p.m.

I will make a note here any suggestion that Justice Kennedy is anything but a partisan hack has been thoroughly debunked.

Then again, we knew that after his vote in Bush v. Gore in 2000.

For the Past two Decades or so, not Having a Substantive Conflict of Interest Policy has been Goldman’s Business Model

In looking at the recent ProPublica and This American Life coverage of the capture of the Federal Reserve regulators by the Vampire Squid (Goldman Sachs) it’s important to note that they miss a basic point, which is that, as
Justin Fox so ably points out in the Harvard Business Review, Goldman Sachs has been using conflicts of interest as a mechanism to generate much, if not most of their profits.

I recommend that you read the ProPublica story, and then listen to the This American Life podcast, but Mr. Fox does make a legitimate complaint about the coverage.

Specifically one of the big reveals is that a Goldman executive said that consumer protection laws do not apply to rich clients.

This is in fact true under US law:

In the first, Carmen Segarra, the former Fed bank examiner who made the tapes, tells of a Goldman Sachs executive saying in a meeting that “once clients were wealthy enough, certain consumer laws didn’t apply to them.”  Far from being a shocking admission, this is actually a pretty fair summary of American securities law. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “accredited investor” guidelines, an individual with a net worth of more than $1 million or an income of more than $200,000 is exempt from many of the investor-protection rules that apply to people with less money. That’s why rich people can invest in hedge funds while, for the most part, regular folks can’t. Maybe there were some incriminating details behind the Goldman executive’s statement that alarmed Segarra and were left out of the story, but on the face of it there’s nothing to see here.

The theory here is that the very rich, by virtue of having a lot of money, are assumed to be knowledgeable investors, and so are more able to protect themselves.

Simply put, they are saying that they are not the general public, because they either have, or can hire, financial knowledge.

In highlighting this, they underplay the 2nd reveal of the story, and what is clearly the reason for Ms. Segarra’s unjustified termination, the fact that Goldman Sachs never had a meaningful conflict of interest policy:

The other smoking gun is that Segarra pushed for a tough Fed line on Goldman’s lack of a substantive conflict of interest policy, and was rebuffed by her boss. This is a big deal, and for much more than the legal/compliance reasons discussed in the piece. That’s because, for the past two decades or so, not having a substantive conflict of interest policy has been Goldman’s business model. Representing both sides in mergers, betting alongside and against clients, and exploiting its informational edge wherever possible is simply how the firm makes its money. Forcing it to sharply reduce these conflicts would be potentially devastating.

(emphasis mine)

Mr. Fox makes another interesting point, that any organization that is responsible for the stability and the viability of the banks, such as the Federal Reserve, have an inherent interest in ensuring that those organizations are profitable, because profitable banks are more stable than unprofitable.

Carmen Segarra, in pushing for Goldman having a conflict of interest policy, was attacking the attacking the viability of a bank.

This raises a larger question, whether we really want to have an organization for which has unethical behavior at the core of both its culture and profits to remain viable.

This was the question that no one has asked about Wall Street in general, and Goldman Sachs in particular.

It needs to be asked.


How wolves literally changed the geography of Yellowstone Park:

Good News Everyone!

Good news everyone!

I invented a device that makes you read this in your head using my voice!

The language of negotiations differs in different societies.

In Japan, it is rare for someone to simply say no.

Instead, the culture is to obliquely mention difficulties, so the fact that the Japanese trade minister has stated that there has been no progress in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) constitutes a major rebuke:

Japan’s Trade Minister Akira Amari said he and his U.S. counterpart made no progress in bilateral talks that are key to an ambitious multilateral trade deal.

“Japan made a flexible proposal, but we weren’t able to make further progress,” Amari told reporters on Wednesday evening in Washington. “Further negotiations are undecided.”

This is unalloyed good news.

The TPP is not about free trade.  In most areas (except perhaps for Japanese agricultural products), tariffs are pretty minimal these days.

This is about allowing rent seekers in insurance, finance, and IP protected industries (pharma, software patents, music, etc.) to further increase their profits by manipulating the government rules, i that are integral to their business models.

It’s a good thing that labor, environmental, consumer, and safety regulations aren’t going to be crucified on a cross of “free trade”. ……… For a while, at least.

I Guess that the word “Khorasan” is Arabic for “Gulf of Tonkin”

Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain make a rather compelling case for The Khorasan Group being a construct of the Obama Administration to provide a legal fig leaf for dropping bombs on Syria:

As the Obama administration prepared to bomb Syria without Congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the “homeland.” A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval.

The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded “The Khorasan Group.” After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat – too radical even for Al Qaeda! – administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new terror group was created in media lore.


AP warned Americans that “the fear is that the Khorasan militants will provide these sophisticated explosives to their Western recruits who could sneak them onto U.S.-bound flights.” It explained that although ISIS has received most of the attention, the Khorasan Group “is considered the more immediate threat.”

The genesis of the name was itself scary: “Khorasan refers to a province under the Islamic caliphate, or religious empire, of old that included parts of Afghanistan.” AP depicted the U.S. officials who were feeding them the narrative as engaging in some sort of act of brave, unauthorized truth-telling: “many U.S. officials interviewed for this story would not be quoted by name talking about what they said was highly classified intelligence.”


Orr then announced that while ISIS is “dominating headlines and terrorist propaganda,” Orr’s “sources” warn of “a more immediate threat to the U.S. Homeland.” As Orr spoke, CBS flashed alternating video showing scary Muslims in Syria and innocent westerners waiting in line at airports, as he intoned that U.S. officials have ordered “enhanced screening” for “hidden explosives.” This is all coming, Orr explained, from ”an emerging threat in Syria” where “hardened terrorists” are building “hard to detect bombs.”

On September 25, the New York Times – just days after hyping the Khorasan threat to the homeland – wrote that “the group’s evolution from obscurity to infamy has been sudden.” And the Paper of Record began, for the first time, to note how little evidence actually existed for all those claims about the imminent threats posed to the homeland:

American officials have given differing accounts about just how close the group was to mounting an attack, and about what chance any plot had of success. One senior American official on Wednesday described the Khorasan plotting as “aspirational” and said that there did not yet seem to be a concrete plan in the works.

Literally within a matter of days, we went from “perhaps in its final stages of planning its attack” (CNN) to “plotting as ‘aspirational’” and “there did not yet seem to be a concrete plan in the works” (NYT).

(emphasis mine)

What’s more, the folks at The Intercept also noted that no one ever heard of the group before it was a justification for the airstrikes:

Even more remarkable, it turns out the very existence of an actual “Khorasan Group” was to some degree an invention of the American government. NBC’s Engel, the day after he reported on the U.S. Government’s claims about the group for Nightly News, seemed to have serious second thoughts about the group’s existence, tweeting:

Syrian activists telling us theyve never heard of Khorasan or its leader
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) September 24, 2014

Indeed, a NEXIS search for the group found almost no mentions of its name prior to the September 13 AP article based on anonymous officials. There was one oblique reference to it in a July 31 CNN op-ed by Peter Bergen. The other mention was an article in the LA Times from two weeks earlier about Pakistan which mentioned the group’s name as something quite different than how it’s being used now: as “the intelligence wing of the powerful Pakistani Taliban faction led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur.” Tim Shorrock noted that the name appears in a 2011 hacked Stratfor email published by WikiLeaks, referencing a Dawn article that depicts them as a Pakistan-based group which was fighting against and “expelled by” (not “led by”) Bahadur.

There are serious questions about whether the Khorasan Group even exists in any meaningful or identifiable manner. Aki Peritz, a CIA counterterrorism official until 2009, told Time: “I’d certainly never heard of this group while working at the agency,” while Obama’s former U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said: ”We used the term [Khorasan] inside the government, we don’t know where it came from….All I know is that they don’t call themselves that.” As the Intercept was finalizing this article, former terrorism federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy wrote in National Review that the group was a scam: “You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one. It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan … had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.”

What happened here is all-too-familiar. The Obama administration needed propagandistic and legal rationale for bombing yet another predominantly Muslim country. While emotions over the ISIS beheading videos were high, they were not enough to sustain a lengthy new war.

So after spending weeks promoting ISIS as Worse Than Al Qaeda™, they unveiled a new, never-before-heard-of group that was Worse Than ISIS™. Overnight, as the first bombs on Syria fell, the endlessly helpful U.S. media mindlessly circulated the script they were given: this new group was composed of “hardened terrorists,” posed an “imminent” threat to the U.S. homeland, was in the “final stages” of plots to take down U.S. civilian aircraft, and could “launch more-coordinated and larger attacks on the West in the style of the 9/11 attacks from 2001.””

As usual, anonymity was granted to U.S. officials to make these claims. As usual, there was almost no evidence for any of this. Nonetheless, American media outlets – eager, as always, to justify American wars – spewed all of this with very little skepticism. Worse, they did it by pretending that the U.S. Government was trying not to talk about all of this – too secret! – but they, as intrepid, digging journalists, managed to unearth it from their courageous “sources.” Once the damage was done, the evidence quickly emerged about what a sham this all was. But, as always with these government/media propaganda campaigns, the truth emerged only when it’s impotent.

This sounds an awful lot like George W. Bush saying, “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

This is the product of the imperial consensus that emerged following the fall of the USSR, with a dash of venality and mendacity from the House of Saud.

I cannot help but think that we are close to seeing the end of the American imperium, and that it’s fall will be not be pretty.

Obamacare Follies

It turns out that large employers, particularly ones with large numbers of low paid employees, can issue complying plans that do not cover hospitalization>:

Lance Shnider is confident Obamacare regulators knew exactly what they were doing when they created an online calculator that gives a green light to new employer coverage without hospital benefits.

“There’s not a glitch in this system,” said Shnider, president of Voluntary Benefits Agency, an Ohio firm working with some 100 employers to implement such plans. “This is the way the calculator was designed.”

Timothy Jost is pretty sure the whole thing was a mistake.

“There’s got to be a problem with the calculator,” said Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University and health-benefits authority. Letting employers avoid health-law penalties by offering plans without hospital benefits “is certainly not what Congress intended,” he said.

As companies prepare to offer medical coverage for 2015, debate has grown over government software that critics say can trap workers in inadequate plans while barring them from subsidies to buy fuller coverage on their own.


Companies considering such plans include a restaurant chain with 1,000 workers, a trucking firm with 500 employees and dependents, a delicatessen, a fur farm and firms working the oil boom in upper Midwest, Flunker said.

Employer interest in the plans “is definitely picking up pretty quickly,” said Kevin Schlotman, director of benefits at Benovation, an Ohio firm that designs and administers health coverage. “These are organizations that are facing a significant increase in expenses. They’re trying to do their best.”

I rather imagine that WalMart is working to set up something like this.

Evil is as evil does.

This is what happens when you decide that the source of the problem must be “partners” in a solution.

The free market aspects of  American healthcare are what cause the high prices and opacity and poor outcomes. 

Expecting that stapling a few regulations on this system would fix it was delusional.

Corrupting My Kids

Be seeing you!

Some years ago, I received a complete DVD set of what is arguably the best show ever put on Television, The Prisoner.

It is certainly the most innovative drama yet to grace the small screen.  (I’m not sure whether the works of Ernie Kovacs are more innovative, hence the “drama” modifier)

I have decided that it’s time for me to introduce my children to the work.

They’ve already seen the first episode, and in re-watching it, it appears to be even more timely than when I saw it first in the late 1970s.

Somehow the concerns about privacy and surveillance seem particularly apropos now.

Please, Someone ……… Anyone Make it Stop

At about 1:30

I understand that the right wing in general, and Caribou Barbie in particular, find the Obama administration to be a veritable font of mendacity.

That is the nature of politics these days.

However, when Sarah Palin says that “Truth is an endangered species at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue, I just want to bang my head until I lose consciousness.

Seriously.  This woman has me aching for the quiet competence of J. Danforth “Dan” Quayle.

But she still is a force in right wing politics, so I still have to pay attention.

This is Unbelievably F%$#ed Up

Two nights ago, we bombed ISIS.

We didn’t just bomb ISIS though, we also bombed a separate group, the Khorasan Group, which might, or not be affiliated with abhat al-Nusra.

The kicker is that Khorasan Group and ISIS are enemies, which means that we are bombing two opposing sides of the Syrian civil war:

On Monday night, the United States struck targets in Syria for the first time as part of its expanded air campaign against ISIS—a campaign that had previously been limited to the Iraqi side of the terrorist group’s border-spanning domain. But the anti-ISIS mission Barack Obama outlined in an address on September 10—”We will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL”—had expanded in another way, too, as the U.S. launched strikes on a separate group in Syria that many Americans hadn’t heard of until recently. The Khorasan Group, which the president introduced briefly on Tuesday morning as “seasoned al-Qaeda operatives in Syria,” appears to be part of a faction that is actively fighting ISIS, meaning America has now bombed two opposing sides of Syria’s many-sided civil war. Has the military operation announced by the president only weeks ago already outgrown its original mission?

The Khorasan Group made no appearance in Obama’s speech warning Americans that U.S. airstrikes in Syria were likely. And it’s unclear what the group’s exact relationship is to al-Qaeda’s better-known affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, or even whether it’s a distinct entity. Regardless, al-Qaeda’s international leadership has disowned ISIS, and at the local level, forces associated with al-Qaeda have fought the group for territory. ISIS, for its part, has been blamed for assassinating senior al-Qaeda figures in Syria.

On the night that “kinetic action” began, we bombed two sides in a conflict.  (To be fair, there are 3¼ sides in the Syrian civil war, ISIS on one side, Sunni Jihadis on the other side, the Damascus regime on yet another side, and then the “Free Syrian Army”, whom I count as ¼ of a side)

And need I mention, the Sunni Jihadis, one of the sides that we just bombed, will be trained by the American military in Saudi Arabia, but we’re going to be really careful not to train the really bad ones.

This is so transparently a complete cluster f%$# that it positively buggers the mind, and we are not even a week into this.

Damn. No Jail Time

Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza avoided prison on Tuesday when a U.S. judge sentenced him to serve eight months in a community confinement center after he pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law.

D’Souza, 53, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan to live in a center, which would allow him to leave during non-residential hours for employment, for the first eight months of a five-year probationary period.

Berman also ordered D’Souza to perform one day of community service a week during probation, undergo weekly therapy and pay a $30,000 fine.

This is a guy whose wife wrote a letter to the judge that condemned him for forging her signature and being abusive:

During the sentencing hearing, Berman read from a blistering letter submitted to the court by D’Souza’s estranged wife. In the missive, Dixie D’Souza alleged that her ex-spouse forged her signature on one campaign contribution form, and that he had an “abusive nature.”

D’Souza, who was married to the defendant for 20 years, wrote, “In one instance, it was my husband who physically abused me in April 2012 when he, using his purple belt karate skills, kicked me in the head and shoulder, knocking me to the ground and creating injuries that pain me to this day.” Click here to download a PDF of Dixie D’Souza’s five-page letter to Berman.

Seriously.  What does a Republican have do to get thrown in jail these days?

Another Day, Another Shooting

This one was at a UPS complex in Birmingham, Alabama:

A recently-fired UPS employee on Tuesday shot dead two supervisors at the company facility where he had worked in Birmingham, Alabama before turning the gun on himself, police said.

The gunman, who was wearing a brown UPS uniform, had been terminated earlier this month and had learned a day earlier that he had lost his appeal to get his job back, police said, adding that his motive was not immediately clear. Police had earlier said that the man was fired yesterday.

The shooting occurred shortly before 9:30 a.m. at a large, brick UPS service center atop a hill in the Inglenook section of Birmingham, close to the airport, police said.

Yep, the American gun fetish is such a good thing.

I get that, barring a nigh apocalyptic change in American body politic, we will not see any meaningful change in our gun control regimes.

The gun nuts own our country, the rest of us just live in it.

To quote Tom Tomorrow, “The occasional horrific civilian massacre is just the price the rest of us have to pay ……… Over and over again, apparently.